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(A) Misdemeanor prosecution. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the city from seeking prosecution as a misdemeanor for any alleged violation of this chapter.
(1) Notice. A person violating this chapter may be issued, either personally or by mail, a citation that sets forth the alleged violation and that informs the alleged violator of his or her right to a hearing on the matter. The citation shall provide notice that a hearing must be requested within ten business days of receipt and that hearing rights shall be terminated if a hearing is not promptly requested. The citation shall provide information on how and where a hearing may be requested, including a contact address and phone number.
(a) Upon issuance of a citation, a person accused of violating this chapter may request in writing a hearing on the matter. Hearing requests must be made within ten business days of the issuance of the citation and delivered to the Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer or other designated city officer. Failure to request a hearing within ten business days of the issuance of the citation will terminate the person's right to a hearing.
(b) The Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer or other designated city officer shall set the time and place for the hearing. Written notice of the hearing time and place shall be mailed or delivered to the accused violator at least ten business days prior to the hearing.
(3) Hearing officer. The city official designated by the City Council shall serve as the hearing officer. The hearing officer must be an impartial employee of the city or an impartial person retained by the city to conduct the hearing.
(a) A decision shall be issued by the hearing officer within ten business days. If the hearing officer determines that a violation of this chapter did occur, that decision, along with the hearing officer's reasons for finding a violation and the penalty to be imposed under division (B) of this section, shall be recorded in writing, a copy of which shall be provided to the city and the accused violator by in person delivery or mail as soon as practicable. Likewise, if the hearing officer finds that no violation occurred or finds grounds for not imposing any penalty, those findings shall be recorded and a copy provided to the city and the acquitted accused violator by in person delivery or mail as soon as practicable.
(b) Costs. If the citation is upheld by the hearing officer, the city's actual expenses in holding the hearing up to a maximum of $ 1,000.00 shall be paid by the person requesting the hearing.
(c) The decision of the hearing officer is final.
(5) Appeals. Appeals of any decision made by the hearing officer shall be filed in the district court for the city in which the alleged violation occurred within ten business days.
(6) Continued violation. Each violation, and every day in which a violation occurs or continues, shall constitute a separate offense.
(C) Administrative penalties.
(1) Licensees. Any licensee found to have violated this chapter, or whose employee shall have violated this chapter, shall be charged an administrative fine of $75 for a first violation of this chapter; $200 for a second offense at the same licensed premises within a 24-month period; and $250 for a third or subsequent offense at the same location within a 24-month period. In addition, after the third offense, the license shall be suspended for not less than seven consecutive days.
(2) Other individuals. Other individuals, other than minors regulated by division (C)(3) of this section, found to be in violation of this chapter shall be charged an administrative fine of $50.
(3) Minors. Minors found in unlawful possession of or who unlawfully purchase or attempt to purchase, tobacco, tobacco products, tobacco-related devices, electronic cigarettes, electronic delivery device or nicotine delivery devices, shall be subject to an administrative fine, or may be subject to tobacco-related education classes, diversion programs, community services, or another penalty that the city believes will be appropriate and effective. The administrative fine or other penalty shall be established by City Council ordinance upon the City Council's consultation with interested parties of the courts, educators, parents and children to determine an appropriate penalty for minors in the city. This administrative fine or other penalty may also be established from time to time by the Ordinance Establishing Fees and Charges, as it may be amended from time to time.
(4) Statutory penalties. If the administrative penalties authorized to be imposed by M.S. § 461.12, as it may be amended from time to time, differ from those established in this section, then the statutory penalties shall prevail.
(Ord. 2019-5, passed 12-18-2019)